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Old September 4th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #1
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Panasonic AG-3DA1P first impressions

Until a new forum is started (and I don't know how to request this to happen) perhaps we can use this 3D forum to discuss the Panasonic 3DA1 camera.

I've just received mine this week. So far I have some opinions and have done a few preliminary tests with it, however, it's still too early to make grand pronouncements about it's overall handling, image delivery, or other idiosyncratic issues.

That having been said, here are a few of my first impressions.

When I demoed the camera at NAB and later at a client demonstration, I was impressed to some degree at how well Panasonic had packaged a 3D camera into a small form factor that seemed to work. I still feel this way, but I'm having issues with the large inter-axial (I-A) that don't seem easy to resolve.

Basically, there are a lot of background divergence issues that I'm trying to resolve but so far I have not managed to get a handle on whether this can be done at all. Shooting subjects within 10' of the lens creates pretty deep BG divergences even just a few feet into the depth zone behind the convergence point. I'm hoping that I won't have to shoot everything from even further away than 10' but it's beginning to look like this will continue to be the camera's Achilles heel and weak spot.

I'm taking the camera to Olof @ Westside AV next week for a custom 3D Nano Flash mount and strengthened tripod mount. I am not planning to use the AVCHD internal recorders at all, but I'll do some tests anyway to test out the quality of the footage. It will be especially interesting to be able to compare the AVCHD to the XDCAM I-Frame matching footage. I'll report those results as soon as I do this.

The actual setup and configuration of the camera conforms to the normal Panasonic camera techniques, no surprise there. The manual has a whopping 2 pages on the 3D setup and it is somewhat confusing even to an experienced stereographer like myself.

One thing it mentions - and perhaps someone on the forum will be able to clarify this, is this sentence;
"use guide display 1 when target monitor screen size is less than 77-type" and
"use guide display 2 when target monitor screen size is more than 77-type"
Can anyone clarify or explain what a "77-type" screen size is?

So that's the preliminary report on the camera, lots of work to be done with testing, testing, testing to determine if these weaknesses can be overcome. I welcome any and all comments from other users of this camera and hopefully we can get to start a new forum about this camera.
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Old September 4th, 2010, 11:23 PM   #2
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Some of the language gets lost in translation but the "77-type" refers to a 77 inch diagonal TV. This was Panasonic's solution to providing the user with a guide for permissible positive parallax and depth budget at a given zoom and convergence level depending on your eventual display size. Think of it like a depth-of-field chart, but for depth budget. The first setting is for home use and the second setting is for the big screen (30foot wide I assume.) It is a bit counter-intuitive for a shooter though.

My solution was to write an iPhone app. The camera doesn't tell you the actual focal length or convergence distance and instead gives the standard Panasonic 00-99 readout so it is impossible to use any standard stereoscopic calculator with the AG-3DA1.
My app called "3DA1 Calc" is already on the Apple app store. 3DA1 Calc for iPhone and iPod touch on the iTunes App Store
We are not officially announcing it until next week at IBC but seeing as how some people have already received their production units the sooner you have it the sooner you can start making watchable 3D.

We are also releasing our 3DA1 ingest app for Mac OSX next week. We previewed this at NAB but it has been streamlined since then into a nice simple app that can quickly create reference quicktimes in side by side or top and bottom modes for "instant dailies." Those can then be encoded into ProRes422 or whatever you want to work in for Premiere, AE, FCP, etc.
Attached Thumbnails
Panasonic AG-3DA1P first impressions-screen-shot-2010-08-14-4.04.50-am.png   Panasonic AG-3DA1P first impressions-screen-shot-2010-08-14-4.03.33-am.png  

Panasonic AG-3DA1P first impressions-screen-shot-2010-08-14-4.06.00-am.png   Panasonic AG-3DA1P first impressions-screen-shot-2010-08-14-4.06.30-am.png  

Tim Dashwood
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Old September 5th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #3
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Tim, it's nothing short of a digital Rosetta Stone for the Panasonic 3DA1 !

I downloaded it and it really does a nice job of clearly stating the positive parallax depth budget.

I am always seeing some background ghosting on my 46" 3D HDTV though, so I'm figuring that this is something that can be worked on with Ghost Toaster in Stereo 3D Toolbox, right?

After working so long with a mirror rig, I'm having quite a bit of difficulty adjusting to the large I-A of the 3DA1. And your app shows how difficult it will be to shoot for a large 30'+ screen, but my guess is that the camera was designed specifically for HDTV's.

Last edited by Bruce Schultz; September 5th, 2010 at 02:13 PM.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 08:19 AM   #4
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We are expecting our AG-3DA1 any day now. We've also ordered the 25.5" Panasonic field monitor - has anyone used one of these yet? Model #BT-3DL2550
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Old September 17th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #5
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Steve, I hooked up my 3DA1 earlier this week to the new Panasonic 25" monitor and was, in a word, underwhelmed.

We had trouble getting the HDMI input from the camera to work at all. The HDSDI inputs worked, however, the field of view was so narrow on the monitor that we could only look at the 3D image one person at a time and be in the EXACT middle of the screen at the EXACT center point to view a well resolved 3D image.

I have a message out to the Panasonic rep in the area and I'm hoping to re-do this demonstration with better tech knowledge at hand, however, based on this first testing I would be reluctant to shell out the $10K for it. I'm told the Sony is due very soon at the same size and price point and larger 3D FOV.
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Old September 21st, 2010, 07:45 AM   #6
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I tested the "new" JVC 46" Xpol display. It performed very well, from almost any position (I have a Zalman, which has a sweet spot for the Glasses to work, and the JVC is a huge improvement), that was a nice surprise. I got a quote for 5.9K, but it lacks sdi input.
Later this week I'm hopping to play with the Panasonic.

Do you have some 3D footage from the AG-3D1A you can share? what the camera output in its native format



Gustavo Torres is offline   Reply

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